Don’t wait for HR

I used to work in HR.  I liked working in HR. I know most of the people who dedicate their lives to HR are caring individuals trying to help their teams and organizations grow, not the policy-police overlords you read about.

That said, you SHOULD NOT wait on HR to recognize your employees and show that you care. You can do that anytime and anywhere… for FREE!!

So yes, this will be my second post in a few days that deals with employee appreciation. Why? Because literally the day after my conversation with “Shane”, I spoke to another manager (from a different company) about virtually the same topic. As we talked about how he was going to personally recognize and acknowledge his team, he said, “I’ll see what HR has in terms of scratch offs or recognition cards.”

And this is when I said, “Don’t wait for HR.”

Not because they don’t want to help. Not because they can’t help. Not because they are too busy to help.  It’s because for the kind of appreciation we’re talking about, you don’t NEED HR.

You need YOUR voice, YOUR eyes, a little of YOUR time and YOUR caring heart. That’s it.

When you see something worthy of recognition, here’s what you do:

  • Go up to that person (maintaining 6 feet physical distancing if that is still required) and look them in the eye to show you care and that you’re serious. Don’t look at your phone while doing this.  That’s rude.
  • Describe what you saw. “I noticed that you waved at every guest as they walked by, and many waved back. Thank you for doing that. It makes them feel welcome and that we want them here. It also makes you more approachable in case they have a question. Rock on with your great guest service!”

And look, that didn’t take very long and you didn’t need a recognition card from HR. Best of all, it was FREE and infinitely repeatable!! If you want to tie your recognition to an official HR program, fine. But you DO NOT have to wait to have that card in your hand to show your appreciation for a job well done.

A MUST READ on appreciation: Infographic “How To” Post 6: Appreciated

Back to our story… what about the caring heart?  Oh yeah. The above conversation CAN NOT be delivered nonchalantly. As I stated in that post from 2016, you have to genuinely appreciate your team so your appreciation comes across as genuine. Do you, deep down, really care about your team?  Like, for realz, I mean?

If you do, then you know that the power to recognize and appreciate your team does not come from a scratch-off card.  And, it’s not the scratch-off card that people appreciate.

When I was at Universal, we had a program called “Winning Moments”.  This was a way for team members to recognize each other. There were little cards that you would give to a deserving co-worker with a hand written note about how they had a positive impact on you. That team member would then turn that card in to Team Member Services for the chance to win a prize.

But guess what. Very few people turned in those cards. Can you guess why?  Because they were pinned up in their cubicles and lockers as reminders of how someone appreciated them. These were badges of honor, and worth a heck-of-a-lot-more than anything you could get in the drawing.

So, the Winning Moment form was changed.  A tab was added at the bottom so people could keep the part with the personal note and turn in the stub with their name on it. Brilliant.

This again should show you that you don’t NEED to wait for HR. People value the MESSAGE over the MECHANISM.  And you control the message.

After all this conversation, the manager I was talking to said, “So I just need to get out and look for it. While observing the operation and the guests, I ALSO need to be looking for the great things my employees are doing.  Maybe even make it a goal to praise a certain number of people a day.”

YES! (but with a caveat – they have to DESERVE the praise). Don’t be the manager who is praising just to praise with no specificity behind it.  That’s not genuine either.

So to sum up…

  • You have to appreciate people so you can appreciate people
  • Your genuineness is the KEY to great employee appreciation
  • You DO NOT have to wait on HR to praise or recognize your team

I am happy to talk to anyone about how to show appreciation for your team. Call or email anytime or if you prefer, grab a spot on my calendar: https://calendly.com/matt-810/30min

Thanks for reading!

407-435-8084

matt@performanceoptimist.com

In the near future, I will be publishing new articles on the AttractionPros site and on LinkedIn. I would love to connect on LinkedIn if we aren’t already, and I encourage you to sign up for updates from the AttractionPros site to get ALL the latest updates and relevant content!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do your leadership skills need a tune-up?

photo-640Everyone, meet Watson.  Watson, meet everyone.

Watson is what we affectionately call our Honda Element.  (Element… elementary… Watson).  It’s a great car that has served us well.  Recently we had to get the brakes redone and transmission flushed, but that’s all part of owning a piece of machinery like this.

It’s like my Dad would say… if you want something to last, you have to take care of it.  If we want Watson to be ready when we need him, we’ve got to take care of him.

See where this is going?  If we want our employees to last and be ready when we need them… I’ll let you finish that statement.

In all cases, this takes people who are qualified to perform the work. For Watson, that’s a mechanic.  For your employees, that’s YOU!

Do you FEEL qualified?  Most newly promoted leaders don’t, but they also don’t know what steps to take to remedy the situation. (Don’t feel bad, in many cases your manager doesn’t know how to fix it, either.)

Here are some things to think about (and talk to your manager about!):

  • Are you actually qualified?  Mechanics (the good ones) take classes and attend update and recurring trainings to keep their skills sharp.  What books, classes or seminars can you experience to hone your skills?  Is there someone you know that you can seek out as a mentor or coach?
  • Do you have the right tools?  A hammer won’t do you any good if you need a wrench.  What tools (skills, abilities) do you need in your tool box to effectively lead your teams?  (Look at the things you dislike to do the most – that’s a good starting point.)
  • How well do you use your time? When I first called the mechanic, they said they couldn’t get Watson in for another 3 days.  Do you have a good handle on how you spend your time, where it goes and how to maximize your efficiency within the time you have?
  • Are you a good problem solver?  When I first brought Watson in, I explained what the brakes were doing (according to me).  The mechanic then had to look at all of the surrounding factors and circumstances to determine the right solution. Are you able to identify the needs of your employees so you can provide them with what they need?  If not, what tools or skills do you need to be able to do that?

Leaders (the good ones) are constantly looking at ways to get better at their craft, and that means seeking out opportunities learn, grow, and be better at your job than you were yesterday. Some of your skills might be right where they need to be, others may need some attention, and that’s okay.

Cars keep changing, so mechanics have to continue learning just to keep up.  Your job as a leader ain’t that different.

Thanks for reading!

Matt

About the author: Over the last few months, I’ve taken my desire to Help Leaders Lead to the next level.  Along with my book about employee engagement and burnout, I also now offer professional coaching services and self-directed leadership development courses.  Oh, and don’t forget the FREE eBook I’m giving away on my homepage!

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I don’t care about $2

NOTE: This is Part 1 of a series of posts inspired by 40 very active hours of travel on  March 13-14, 2015.  There will be at least 3 more entries in this series.


I don’t care about $2.  I do care about employees who don’t feel like they are being listened to.

On a recent trip to the airport, I stopped at the curbside check-in to drop off my bag.  I was met by Erin, who asked for a drivers license and credit card.  The following conversation ensued.

Me – (confused about why she needed a credit card) “I actually paid for my bag online.”

Erin – (sounding exasperated) “I know, but there is a $2 fee for checking in out here.”

Me – (trying to be funny/sympathetic) “Well that stinks.”

Erin – “Yeah, it’s supposed to be a convenience fee for not going inside.  We’ve complained about it, but no one listens.”

Me – “I hate to hear that.”

Erin – “Yeah, they don’t listen to the people actually doing the work.  They sit in their ivory tower and make decisions that we have to deal with.  That’s corporate America, nothing we can do about it.”

You could hear the resignation in her tone.  Here is an employee with a voice, with something to say, and no one is listening.  Or at least that is her perception.

And of course, that perception is Erin’s reality.

Erin dutifully printed my boarding passes and my receipt for the $2.  As she handed the documents to me, she said with a wily smirk and a chuckle, “and here is your receipt for the $2.”  Then she very pleasantly wished me a safe flight and a nice day.

How hard is it to listen to someone?  How tough is it to spend the time to pay attention to what the front line employees are saying?  It’s not hard and it’s not tough.  But it does take time and an open mind – two things that seem to be in short supply these days.

As a leader, we have choices about where we focus our time, our energy and attention.  If you think that listening to your employees is not worth your time, think about this.

Dr. Rick Bommelje, one of the foremost authorities on listening and leadership, has studied the emotional impact of being listened to for years. He has found that the feelings of being listened to are so close to that of being loved that most people can’t tell the difference.

Whoa.

So when you listen to your employees, or even if they PERCEIVE that you are listening, they will get the feeling that you care, and won’t feel like my friend Erin. Defeated and unengaged.

Even if that $2 is the difference between financial success and failure, Erin doesn’t know it.  Because she doesn’t know it, she doesn’t care.  That impacts how she explained the fee to me, and how this blog post got written.

Had she said, “I understand, and am sorry you didn’t know about the fee.  It’s for the convenience of avoiding the long lines inside.  We can get you through much quicker.”

That would be worth $2, right?  But I am NOT calling for the retraining of Erin.  I am calling for Erin’s leaders (and everyone like them) to listen to your employees.  Again, even if you keep the fee, let her know WHY you have the fee, why it’s important and why it is beneficial to the guests.

As a leader, you want that $2, right?  You’ve got to earn it… not just by tacking on an extra fee, but by listening and communicating with your employees.  That’s the REAL focus of your job.

Thanks for reading… now go listen!

Matt

 

 

 

About the author: Matt has written about broken policies with the airlines before.  As it so happens, the airline in this situation is one of the guilty parties.  Maybe the execs aren’t listening to their employees about that fiasco either.

 

 

New promo video

Howdy friends!

Wanted to share a new promo video I recently added to my website.  If you like it, feel free to “like” it, link it, share it, or tweet it!

If you don’t like it, at least is was only 1 minute and 48 seconds!

Big thanks to Charlie with the North American Farm Direct Marketers Association for providing the footage!

Thanks for watching!

 

Matt